Try Again Next Year

“The danger of motherhood – you relive your early self, through the eyes of your mother.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates, The Gravedigger’s Daughter

Belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, to all the mothers-to-be, to all the mothers of angel babies, and to all mothers who are struggling with infertility – you are all amazing.

My mom is in the Philippines, so I called her Saturday evening to greet her.  I wasn’t able to get through to her, but I did leave her a message on her phone.  By tonight (Sunday evening), I still have not been able to reach her.  It’s one of the many struggles of transatlantic communications – especially to a third-world country such as the Philippines.  While they are advanced technologically in the bigger cities like Manila, many of the outer provinces still have spotty telephone and internet service.  Unfortunately, the corruption in the government does not allow for a complete overhaul of the country’s infrastructure that is desperately needed.  There are still many areas even that do not have running water.

Surprisingly, the Philippines was one of the richest countries in Asia following WWII.  However, years of economic mismanagement and the corruption of the Ferdinand Marcos regime and martial law, led to the Philippines becoming one of the poorest in Asia.  Further economic stagnation and decline continued during the years even after Marcos due to political instability.  The country now largely survives on the money brought in by OFWs (overseas foreign workers), to the tune of approximately $31B/year.

My own mother’s day celebration was a bit of a disaster.  G had promised to make me breakfast, but in typical tweeny fashion, she wasn’t paying full attention, and was instead focusing on a video on her phone which she had placed on top of the kitchen counter, and she dropped a whole carton of eggs on the floor.  It took me nearly thirty minutes to fully clean up the gooey mess on the kitchen floor.  By then, I had lost my appetite, so I made oatmeal for us instead.

I took the opportunity to turn it in a lesson: Don’t half-ass anything in life.  Whatever you do, do it fully and with commitment.  

Lessons learned.  And, there’s always next year.

Texting

“As a medium, it’s safe to say, texting facilitates flakiness and rudeness and many other personality traits that would not be expressed in a phone call or an in-person interaction.” ~ Aziz Ansari, Modern Romance: An Investigation

My [lack of] texting etiquette may suggest that I am a rude person.  I’m not very good at responding to texts, and I’m not too keen on initiating them either.  I tend to leave people on “read” and generally take a long time to respond.

I am not like this because I am rude – I am like this because I haven’t quite [de]evolved to that level of social communication.

I grew up in the days of corded rotary phones.  I grew up during the time when phone calls during dinner were unimaginable, and phone calls placed before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. were considered bad manners.

Nowadays, chances are slim that I can spend an entire meal with a friend uninterrupted.  I could be sitting with a friend, having a nice conversation and a nice meal together, and everything would come to a screeching halt because she would get a text that she absolutely “must answer.”  Maybe she would only spending a minute or less doing this, but oftentimes, this same urgency to respond to text messages would happen a few more times during the course of the meal, and before you know it, she would have spent at least a quarter of the time looking into her phone, rather than being completely present with me.

Sadly, this societal behavior is what is considered “normal” these days.

Technology has made it so that the person in front of you comes second (or third, or fourth) and significantly less important than whomever is texting you.

And it seems no one these days care about what time they text you.  As soon as a thought comes into their mind – BOOM! – they text you, and it could be 1:00 p.m. or 10:30 at night, or 4:00 in the morning.  And worse, some people expect an immediate answer from you.  It’s the world of instant gratification.

A while ago, I received an angry text from a friend.  She had taken the time to write out a few paragraphs on text about how she was disappointed in me, and how she never expected that I would be so unsupportive.  Um, excuse me?  I had read her text, and I was so confused that I immediately thought she had texted the wrong person.  So, I did what she never thought to do herself: pick up the damn phone and DIAL MY NUMBER AND TALK TO ME.

I called her and she answered.  I asked her straight out what the hell was she talking about?  She said that she had texted me a few months ago to let me know that she was expecting a baby, and she was angry and hurt that I never acknowledged her pregnancy.

What in the actual freak???  Since when do people give LIFE-ALTERING news over text?

I told her the truth, which was that I did not receive that text, and that if I had, I surely would have CALLED her to congratulate her.  I really don’t get it, man.  Texting sucks.  I think it was designed to be able to pass brief, concise information quickly, like when you’re outside waiting for someone to arrive, and that person texts you to let you know they are running late.  I don’t think it was really designed to carry entire relationships, which, quite sadly, is how I think people use it.

photo credit: google images

Cinco de Mayo

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

With the exception of Saturday, this whole week was washed out because of the rain here in NYC.

 

 

It was just as well, I suppose, as this was another busy week here at work, and I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the outdoors anyway.  I wish I could tell you all what I’ve been working on, but the attorney-client privilege prevents me from doing so.  I’m working on such an interesting project, so I don’t even mind working such long hours, but I do wish that I could talk to someone about it.

Despite my busy schedule, I did manage to find time to go to the gym three times this week.  Now that the days are longer, I can still go early enough in the morning before work and not have it still be pitch black when I wake up.  G says I have lost weight, but I can still pinch some fat and skin on my sides, so I am determined to keep going.

Today was cinco de mayo, and in honor of the day, G and I made tacos.

I still believe that the French lost at Puebla to the Mexicans because they were blindsided by tacos.  I mean, who can resist such deliciousness?

Penguins

“They (penguins) then fall madly in love and live happily ever after.

And so you ask yourself: “If a penguin can have a worthwhile, stimulating relationship, why the hell can’t I?”

Or maybe you ask yourself: “Would I be happier if I started dating a penguin” ~ Bradley Trevor Greive, Looking for Mr. Right

Last week was a tough week.  I worked extremely long hours, even more than I usually do.  One night I was stuck at the office until 2:30 a.m., and then I was back at work by 8:00 a.m.  Thankfully, it was spring break for LittleG, and she was at her father’s house, so I did not have to worry about her.  However, I broke my gym streak and I did not work out even once last week.  Hopefully this week will be better.  Working out at the gym is my one real “vice” and I feel irritated and short-tempered when I don’t exercise.

I had lost a bet to a friend last week as well, and so I was obligated to perform an act of her choosing.  As luck or misfortune would have it, my obligation to fulfill the bet was to go on one date.  Where would I find a date?  She suggested that I create an online profile.

Over the years I had created dating profiles only to promptly remove them.  This time was no exception.  I find it unnatural to offer yourself up to others like an item on a restaurant menu, and to initially be judged by a few photos that only give a glimpse of who you really are.  I am definitely not judging those who do internet date, and I know it has been successful for many people.  I am speaking solely for myself, and for me, it feels unnatural.

And unsuccessful.  While I did get many likes and messages, they were mostly from old and fat men, and one lesbian who offered to paint my nude body.

Profile deleted.  I’ll have to find someone the old-fashioned way, I guess.  Does anyone date the traditional way any more?

Oh, and yesterday, LittleG officially became a young woman.  She got her first period, and as her mom, I congratulated her on her first step of her journey towards adulthood, but secretly, I cried for the end of her youth (and the official start of my old age).

Toxic

“Sometimes I wonder if we ever truly let anyone completely in. The desire for another human being to know you, all of you, all the pieces, even the ones you’re ashamed of — is huge. But too often, we sit down and sort through the pieces only picking out the pretty ones, leaving the ugly ones behind, not realizing that choosing not to share with someone else is like committing a crime against our very soul.” ~ Rachel Van Dyken, Toxic

I recently “met” someone on Twitter.  This person had started messaging me on Twitter a few months ago.  We had similar views on a few posts on Twitter, and after some time, we graduated to exchanging Instagram handles.  We started to exchange direct messages both on Instagram and Twitter, and for convenience, I suggested we exchange Whatsapp numbers.  We had chatted a few times on Whatsapp, and after feeling a bit more open with this person, I broke protocol and shared this site.

I suppose this person read through all my prior posts, and decided afterwards that I am just too “toxic” and too much of a “hot mess” (their words, not mine) and promptly deleted me from their Instagram, and then put up a post about staying away from “emotionally unavailable” people.

I totally respect this person’s opinion of me, however wrong I think they may be.  For one, I never pursued any type of relationship with this person.  Two, while I said that I am a “broken” person, I never said I was a “hot mess,” as they claim I did, and lastly, I am far from being “emotionally unavailable.”  My problem is that I am in fact too emotionally present, such that I am actually much too deep for anyone not strong enough to grasp my level of thought and passion.

I just wish this person had the courage to face me and tell me what they thought of me, instead of being a coward and just deleting me and leaving some cryptic post.  I wrote what I wrote in these pages – my thoughts, my words – right or wrong, and if that makes me toxic in someone’s eyes, then so be it.  I will not apologize for or change who I am.

Football > Golf

“Soccer forces life to move on. There’s always a new match. A new season. There’s always a dream that everything can get better. It’s a game of wonders.” ~ Fredrik Backman, Britt-Marie var här

I had a mini-debate with a friend the other day.  He asked me who do I think is the most popular athlete of our time.  I answered, “Cristiano Ronaldo.”  He said, “No way.  I think it’s Tiger Woods.”

Who do you guys think is more popular?  I’m interested to hear answers from people outside of the U.S.

Our Lady of Paris

“Just imagine! In the early nineteenth century, this cathedral was in such a state of disrepair that the city considered tearing it down. Luckily for us, Victor Hugo heard about the plans to destroy it and wrote The Hunchback of Notre-Dame to raise awareness of its glorious history. And, by golly, did it work! Parisians campaigned to save it, and the building was repaired and polished to the pristine state you find today.” ~ Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

I am devastated at the damage done by the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral.

My daughter and I love visiting cathedrals.  It was always our thing.  When we went to Italy last year and the year before, we visited as many churches and cathedrals as we could.  It has been over twenty years since I was in Paris, and I was planning to take my daughter there to see the Notre Dame.  We had planned for next spring.

The loss of history is immeasurable.

48

“I count too heavily on birthdays, though I know I shouldn’t. Inevitably I begin to assess my life by them, figure out how I’m doing by how many people remember; it’s like the old fantasy of attending your own funeral: You get to see who your friends are, get to see who shows up. ” ~ Lorrie Moore, Anagrams

I reached my 48th year of life this past week.  Just saying the numbers “forty eight”… it sounds so old.  Of course if you are reading this, and you are past 48, you will think, “oh, please, 48 is so young!” in the way that I think that about someone who is say, 40 or younger.

It was an ordinary day for me, not unlike any other day.  I woke up early, went to the gym, showered (and dressed a little smarter since it was my birthday), and went to work.  No one at work knew it was my birthday, and I was ok with that. I did appreciate the handful of greetings I received from my old friends who simply remembered my birthday without the help of Facebook or some other social media site to remind them.

After work, a friend took me to Fred’s, a high-end restaurant inside Barney’s on Madison Avenue.  We love to go there as it is a great place for food, drinks, and celebrity-watching.

Sure enough, we found ourselves seated to none other than Vera Wang.

I read somewhere that she is nearly seventy years old.  She looks like she’s around my age.

To my right was Cybill Shepherd, or at least someone who looked very much like her.  I was not able to capture a photo of her as it would have been too obvious (and rude).  I wanted so badly to tell her how much I loved her and Bruce Willis in Moonlighting, but the truth is, these celebrities deserve some privacy and to not be bothered, especially at dinner, so I decided to leave her and Vera alone.

My friend told the staff that it was my birthday, so they quietly wished me a happy birthday.

When I was about to blow out the candle, they said, “Make a wish!”

I could not really think of a wish, so I just blew out the candle.

Being alive at 48 is a gift in itself.  I do not need anything more.

Food in Greece

“I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.” ~ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

One of the things that I miss about Greece is the food.  There are no other words to describe the food in Greece.  Even the “bad” food there is good.

I believe that the freshness of the ingredients is what made the food taste so good.  The sandwiches I ate did not feel like a boring and dry sandwich.  The sandwiches were fresh, rich, and tasty.  I am salivating a little just looking at these pictures and remembering.

I had this caprese toast on my second to last day in Athens.  I went to Syntagma Square and had lunch at the rooftop cafe of Public.

However, Greece, I am sorry to say, but pizza in Italy and New York is still better.  It was a decent try, though.

But your drinks, especially the ones surrounded by ancient ruins, were absolutely perfect.

Hope

“Memories are bullets. Some whiz by and only spook you. Others tear you open and leave you in pieces.” ~ Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead

Wednesday, April 10, was National Sibling Day.  It is mostly an internet holiday designed to honor the sibling relationship.

Wanting to celebrate the bond that I had with my late sister, and the one that I still have with my brother, I searched through old photographs of the three of us together to post on Instagram.  I found one from around the early eighties.  My family had moved to Omaha, Nebraska for about six months to be with my father, who was on a company project in the cornhusker state.

The picture was of the three of us standing in front of the fireplace.  Off to the corner, in front of the bar adjacent to the fireplace, sat my friend, Hope (name has been changed to protect her identity).  I was a bit surprised that the photographer, presumably my mother, would include Hope in the picture with us three siblings, but then I was hit with a particular memory about Hope that made whatever my mother’s reasons were make perfect sense.

Hope was always at my house.  She always insisted to come over every day after school, and she even wanted to have sleepovers at my house every weekend.  I had never had a sleepover before, and I had thought it was weird, but I finally acquiesced to her constant begging, and I finally asked my parents if I could have a sleepover and let Hope stay at our house.  I remember my mother was not too keen on the idea, but Hope was so insistent, and her parents agreed without so much as blinking an eye.

The plan was for Hope to come over Friday night and to stay until Sunday because her parents were going to take advantage of the fact that Hope would not be home for the weekend, and they had planned to go to Des Moines for the weekend.

Friday night came.  My mother had laid out blankets, and Hope was to sleep next to me on the floor.  My mother had made sure we were all settled before she turned off the lights and closed the door.  I was just about to fall asleep when Hope whispered, “Hey, are you still awake?”

“I’m just about to fall asleep.  You should sleep too before my parents get mad,” I said.

“I want you to do something first.  It helps me fall asleep,” she answered.

“What is it? I asked.

“Get underneath the blankets with me,” she said.  “And I want you to put your hands down my underwear.”

Innocently, I asked her why.  I told her it was gross to touch someone else’s private parts.  She then said that she wanted to put her hands down my underwear.  “It will make you feel good,” she smiled.  I refused and said no.  She shrugged when I said no, but she said that I still needed to make her feel good before she could sleep.

I was just about to touch her down there when my mom suddenly knocked on the door.  I jumped out from underneath her blanket and hid under my own.  My mom opened the door but did not turn on the lights.  I yelled out that we were fine, and that we were about to go to sleep.  I was afraid that she would come in and see that Hope was naked from the waist down.  But she closed the door and walked away, turning off the hallway light before she went into her own room and closed the door.

My mom had broken whatever spell had come over the room, and Hope didn’t ask me again to touch her.  The next morning, I became very ill with a fever, and my parents had called Hope’s parents to come pick her up.  Her parents were not happy that their weekend plans were cut short.  My friendship with Hope had faded after that.

Now, looking back almost forty-years later and recalling the events of that night, I can only surmise that Hope was being sexually abused by her father or even her mother.  I never told my mother what happened that night, until recently.  I asked her what made her come into the room that night, and she said she didn’t know, but that she just felt strangely that night.  I wish I had said something back then to my mom.  I feel sick knowing that I could have maybe saved her.  But I was just a kid myself, younger than my daughter is now.  I told my daughter this story and I emphasized that I hoped that she would always tell me everything, even if it was uncomfortable.